Bank manager lives in cave for 8 years

Chen Jianxue hid in this cave for 8 years  
By: David Ross 

A rich bank manager has to hide and live in a cave for eight years.

Mr. Chen, 42, was already a successful businessman in 1995 when he was given a rare opportunity at a major job. He was offered to run one of China’s largest banks. Like many others before him he quickly took advantage of his position, quietly siphoning money and buying his own nightclub, supermarket, shrimp farm and plastics factory.

In 2003, however, an audit exposed 23 million yuan was stolen, allegedly with the help of more than 34 other employees at the branch.
Mr. Chen, who had spent time in the army, was forced to go on the run, and he disappeared into the nearby hills.

"When I found out that my case was the largest in the province at that time, I panicked," he told the local newspaper, from his prison cell. "I crossed a big river and hid in a cave in the mountains and I covered my face with leaves I found in the area. I could see at times some police officers searching for me with guns and dogs. I was terrified," he added.

Then he dug a network of tunnels around the cave, hiding in them when he heard anyone approaching. "The tunnels were large enough to hide in, but small enough to be concealed with branches and leaves," he said. "I stayed in one of the tunnels for over two months."

He said he was increasingly paranoid, quivering at any unusual sound, and he dismissed his chances of escape, thinking he would be caught on security cameras if they tried to flee to a different city.

For years he survived by digging up sweet potatoes and wild herbs, but he also made several clandestine trips to visit his wife, Deng Qingmei, and their two children. His wife spent three years in prison for conspiring to hide him.

His relatives snuck him food, books and newspapers. He read at night and then buried them, instead of burning, so the fire would not be discovered.

"Physical pain was not the worst. I missed my family so much. I was living like a mouse in recent years and I sometimes hoped I would die," he said.

Finally, after reading in late 2010 that criminals who surrendered would be treated with leniency, Mr. Chen decided to surrender. He was allowed to join his family, and he apologized to his wife. His trial is ongoing in Hainan.